In these tough economic times, more people than ever are stressed, depressed, and struggling to cope with anxieties about job security and a nebulous future. Little wonder then that mental ill health is a leading cause of missed work days. In fact, the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, mental illness will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide after heart disease.
It’s no secret that healthy employees are more productive, but many small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) don’t have employee assistance programmes (EAPs). A well-integrated EAP can provide occupational and psychological health and wellbeing support to employees, flagging early warning signs and tackling issues before they become acute. Incentivising SMEs (they employ 65% of the UK workforce) to implement EAPs could have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of a large portion of the population.
It is essential too that as policymakers shape the Health and Social Care Bill that they design the new structures to fit the needs of mental health services. At the heart of mental health care is the parity and integration between primary and secondary care, and it’s important that patients be able to receive adequate access to a range of therapeutic services. Mental health provision is complex at best, and it’s vital that policymakers understand the depth and variety of services so that flexibility and responsiveness to patients’ needs can be retained.